Having served for the last 19 years at St Finbar’s Parish, my greatest desire was always to have the candidates develop a profound belief that Jesus lives in their hearts, that He is alive and desires to have a relationship with them. I continually urged them to communicate with Him at night to ask him for forgiveness and in the morning to ask for help during the day and to keep connected by some prayer during the day. A priest advised some 18 years ago that I commence all classes with the reading of the Gospel for the weekend and have candidates relate in a personal manner what Jesus is revealing to them.
There have been challenges with some candidates; however I continued to pray for them unceasingly throughout the programme. Whatever challenges arose I placed before my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, knowing that more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of. I kept the coordinators up to date and always suggested the Sacrament of Reconciliation as the journey to healing. I especially exposed them to the teachings on the deposit of faith as handed down to us by the Magisterium. Every candidate knows that Jesus Christ is truly present body, blood, soul and divinity in the sacred species we receive during Holy Mass and that the celebrant is in the person of Jesus Christ.
Personal challenges have been many, and sometimes painful. Interaction with candidates reveals from their work that “ignorance of the Gospel is ignorance of Christ”. Confirmation workbooks and lessons are definitely designed to encourage and maintain a relationship with Christ. However, through it all I have grown to love the Church with a love that I can hardly describe in mere words. Certainly I have found myself evangelising baptised non-practising Catholics, and I am always astonished that the teachings of the Church could impress not only teenagers but adults as well. – Lauren, St Finbar’s Parish